Office of University Communications
From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:
Colgate Hoyt Pool
The Colgate Hoyt Pool was built in 1903 adjoining the Lyman Gymnasium at an estimated cost of $35,000, a welcome gift of Colgate Hoyt, whose sons attended Brown. The pool was opened on March 2, 1903, at which time Colgate Hoyt, Jr. ’05 was the first to jump from the diving board into the water. His brother C. Sherman Hoyt ’01, in his book Sherman Hoyt’s Memoirs, explained how his father, pleased by Sherman’s election to Phi Beta Kappa, asked his opinion about the needs of the University, and on Sherman’s advice, gave the pool. He also noted that contemporaries of his brother Colgate Jr. were accustomed to call the pool “Colgate’s Bath Tub.” In the words of President Faunce, “The pool, with its marbled-lined walls, its expanse of translucent water, its adequate heating, lighting and ventilation, its shower baths and apparatus for exercise, is one of the most complete and satisfactory gifts ever made to the University. Each day from fifty to one hundred and twenty-five students have taken the plunge, and during part of the year an instructor in swimming was employed. As the city water, while pure enough for drinking purposes, shows a darker brown color in large masses, we have purchased and installed a large mechanical filter, by means of which the pool – measuring seventy-five feet by twenty-five feet, and holding 70,000 gallons – can be filled in about eighteen hours with water of crystalline purity. The construction of the pool has been carefully directed, from beginning to end, by Mr. Oscar Lapham. As the expense of operating the pool is considerable, each undergraduate is charged one dollar per term for its maintenance, and the use of the pool is free to all.” In 1947 a major reconstruction in the pool was provided by an anonymous donor. The coffin-shaped corners at the east end of the pool were replaced by right-angled corners, and the built-in stairs out of the pool, which had been an obstacle to a swimmer making a turn, were removed. This improvement made possible the use of all four lanes in competition, eliminating the need for more heats and the placing of swimmers by stop-watch verdicts. The pool was still inadequate and, after much waiting, a new pool was built in 1973. At the last meet held at Colgate Hoyt, when the Brown team defeated the Coast Guard Academy, there was a large sign which read “Goodbye Colgate Hoyt,” the band played “Anchors Aweigh,” and the last two coaches, Joe Watmough and Ed Reed, were thrown into the pool in celebration. The space occupied by the pool was transformed into the Ashamu Dance Studio in 1979.
The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright ©1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.